A foot for every task

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One of the best ways to speed up your sewing and get professional results is to use a specialist foot. Most of our Toyota machines come with a range of feet, but we also sell many footwork kits that allow you to add fantastic new functionality to your machine. These techniques will really make your sewing stand out from the crowd and add a professional touch to all your makes.

Jeans sewing made easy

If you’re sewing denim, jeans or other accessories you’re probably well aware that this heavy fabric can be a little hard to control. With the Denim Jeans Footwork kit you’ll be able to sew those bulky seams no problem. The walking foot can ‘walk’ over thicker layers of fabric, meaning those meeting points of seams and allowances are no match for your machine.

What our customers say: “I am very pleased indeed with this purchase. The foot was extremely easy to fit onto my sewing machine and performed excellently when I was sewing three thicknesses of material together.”

Suitable for: RS, RS2000 machines

Buy it for £17.90.

Sew difficult fabrics with the rolling foot

Are you worried about the idea of sewing difficult fabrics like leather, PVC and velvet? No worries! The rolling foot is designed to roll with the fabric making for an easy movement of the needles with difficult fabrics. Velvet often shifts as sewn but this foot will stop dragging of the top layer. Why not indulge in a little velvet with the help of this foot?

Buy it for £9.50.

Suitable for: RS, RS2000, SP, ECO, Super Jeans machines

Tips for Beginners: Rolled Hems

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What is a rolled hem?

Rolled hems are a very small turned hem finished with a straight stitch. They’re made by rolling up the raw edge until it’s hidden by a small hem, then flattening the hem down and straight stitching down the middle. They’re easiest to work with lightweight woven fabrics such as cottons, silks and voile, and work well on a slightly curved hemline. The light delicate nature and simple straight stitch securing makes them perfect for the bottoms of skirts and dresses, or intimate items such as babydolls or your favourite frilly knickers! As they can sometimes add a slight wave to the hemline, try to avoid using them on straight edged areas such as armholes.

Rolled hems by machine

An extremely delicate rolled hem can be achieved with hand stitching, but don’t despair if your hand sewing isn’t quite up to scratch. With practice, a machined rolled hem can be just as perfect as a hand one, and using your sewing machine can really speed up the process. If you’re making large items, or lots of small ones, why not give it a try on your machine!

The easiest way to create a rolled hem on a machine is to use a specialised roll hem foot like this one. These roll and tuck the fabric for you as you sew, speeding up the process and ensuring you get an evenly sized hem!
First, make a normal straight stitch and backstitch over the first inch of your hem, and cut the threads (leave the threads quite long). This anchoring will help you smoothly pull the hem through the first few troublesome inches of the roll hem.

With your secure stitching in place, roll the first few inches oh your hem and place it into the gap of the roll foot. Pull gently on the threads you left hanging as you sew, to ease it through the foot. Then simply slowly sew along your hem, helping to roll the fabric into the foot when needed.

Tips and tricks

  1. Trim your fabric very neatly, a couple of inches at a time, to reduce any fraying. The neater the edge you work with the easier the roll hem!
  2. Keep a pin or awl on hand to help manipulate the fabric into the roll – changes in hem thickness (such as sewing over seams) can slightly jump your fabric out of place. Helping to ease the fabric back in place will keep your hem neat.
  3. As in all cases of sewing, the magic trick is to be patient! Although they can be tricky to get to grips with, a rolled hem should be easy to turn out if you take your time as you go. A little less speed can save a lot of unpicking! Why not try the method out on some fabric scraps first, to get used to the foot?

Without a roll hem foot

If you don’t have a roll hem foot, you can use a presser foot instead!

  1. Sew a straight stitch 1/4” from your raw edge, and fold the hem up from your straight stitch
  2. Sew another straight stitch a tiny 1/8” in from the edge
  3. Trim the raw edge away as close as you can get to your stitching
  4. Fold once more, just enough to encase the raw edge (you want as small a fold as you can)
  5. Then press into position and straight stitch again down the middle of the hem!

If you’re still struggling to handle the roll hem, why not message us through facebook or twitter letting us know what’s going on. We’re always happy to help you out, and we love to see your creations!

Tips For Beginners: Sewing Basics

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Sewing is becoming an increasingly popular hobby these days, you can see it on TV shows and in magazines, and it’s becoming much more admirable to say to someone “Oh, I made it myself!”. However, we know it can be intimidating though to sit before a sewing machine for the first time! Starting off a project can be daunting when you’ve not tried before, and we’ve all had a fabric we didn’t want to waste or a pattern we didn’t want to ruin, so we understand feeling overwhelmed. To help completely new sewers along (or to remind our veterans who’ve picked up bad habits) we’ve got a short guide of basic sewing tips for you to keep in mind when you’re ready to get started.

 

Firstly, Safely

Sewing may not be an extreme sport exactly, but it’s good to make sure you’re safe before you start. The big three are as follows:

  • Make sure your machine is switched off when you set up, and when you’re finished using it.
  • Make sure your presser foot is down before you start sewing.
  • Make sure you’re set up on a sturdy table, and your cables are out of the way of anyone walking by!

Knowing Your Fabric

Before you start off sewing, take a look at the fabric you’re using. Different fabrics need to be handled in different way: a knitted fabric will need a ball pointed needle to ensure it doesn’t snag. Leather and denims will need much sturdier needles to ensure they don’t break in the fabric. Different fabrics also require different tensions, get to know your tension setting and adjust it for very thick or very thin fabrics. Spend a little time getting to know your fabric and how to handle it (don’t be afraid to ask when you’re buying it!)

 

Even if you’re happy with how to set up your machine for the fabric you’ve chosen, test your settings first. Once you have a tension setting, needle and stitch, take a scrap of your fabric and trial run what you’re going to do. That way if anything has been set up wrong, you won’t damage your project pieces with unpicking. This is especially useful for things like decorative stitches or button holes, that can be very difficult to unpick.

 

 

Don’t Skip The Details

It can be frustrating when you’re sewing your first big piece (or even your first little one!) and a lot of things might seem like they’re just slowing you down. Don’t be fooled!

 

Firstly, if you’re working from a pattern, make sure you read it all the way through before you begin! Ensure you have enough fabric, understand all the terms used, and know roughly what you’ll be doing. It will be easier for you from the beginning if you know what the pieces you’re cutting are and how they’re used, as well as making it less confusing for you if you take a break and come back to it later.

 

Don’t forget to mark your notches so you can match up seams – it can seem time consuming if you have a lot of notches but it’s important to be able to line your seams up perfectly, so you get nice flat joins on your finished piece. An uneven match will lower the quality of your finished piece.

 

Iron your fabric – spending time ironing might seem tedious, but working with a flat smooth fabric will give you a much more professional finish as well as making it easier for you to sew (less chance of bumps and folds in your seams). Remember to also iron your seams after they’ve been sewn, to straighten them out and create a smooth, sharp shape!

 

Backstitching at the start and ends of your seams will give your items much more stability and make them last longer. At the start of your seam, sew for about an inch and then reverse stitch back over it. Sew forward again as normal and once you reach the end, reverse stitch back over what you’ve done for another inch. A little backstitching on your seams will help stop them from breaking and splitting apart.

 

Finally, always take your pins out while you’re sewing! It can be tempting to sew right over a pin and take them all out at the end, but you run the risk of hitting one with the needle, potentially damaging your machine. It can also damage your fabric if the bent pin gets stuck in the machine and you have to tug it out!

 

 

These basic tips will make your sewing experience smoother and leave your finished projects looking smart! Don’t worry, we know there’s much more you’ll want to know about sewing from here, so don’t forget to check out our other blogs for tips and tutorials, and watch our video guides to get to know your sewing machine better. If you have a question you need answering or a project you’re proud of, like our facebook or follow us on twitter, drop us a message and we’ll get back to you!

Toyota Sewing Machine: Instruction Manuals Help

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Recently, we’ve had a lot of requests through about how to get hold of Toyota sewing machine instruction manuals. This is great news as we think it shows more and more people are wanting to start sewing again, so, to make it easier for you we’ve put together our tips for you below …

 

1. Find your series/model number on your sewing machine.

2. Head to our “Instruction Manual” page on our Home-Sewing website: here.

3. Scroll down the page and look for your model on the left column.

 

4. Click the ‘PDF’ box next to the model of your sewing machine, under the language of your choice:

5. The instruction manual will now appear. You can choose whether you want to just view it online, print it off or download a copy.

6. The majority of these manuals are also available as a hard copy and are available to purchase for £5 from our Spares Department, simply email spares@aeuk.co.uk or call 01322 291137 (option 3) with the series and model of your machine

 

7. In the event you cannot find your instruction manual on this page (Toyota have been making sewing machines for many many years), please contact our spares department (details above) and they will be able to check the archives to see if we can get a copy of these for you.

Sew Successful : Overlockers

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It was wonderful to see the Overlocker introduced on last nights “Great British Sewing Bee”. The competition hotted up as the task of making men’s trousers was set. Naturally contestants turned to their Overlockers for help with this one.

 

 

What is an Overlocker?

Simply put, the Overlocker is a type of machine used within sewing that uses a run of neat stitches over the very edge of a fabric to give a professional look and finish which also seals and prevents the fabric from fraying. A seam is sewn to join layers of fabric, the edge is trimmed to provide a neat finish and the trimmed edge is oversewn to prevent fraying – clever?!! Sure is!!

The Overlocker offers 3 very useful sewing functions in one easy process:

  1. Decoration
  2. Reinforcement
  3. Construction

 

What’s the difference between an Overlocker and a Serger?

In most circumstances you’ll actually find here that people are talking about the same thing. Like tomato, tomato. The main difference is that Americans refer to them as Sergers whereas we Brits know them more as Overlockers. In practice the terms ‘overedging’, ‘merrowing’, ‘overlocking’ and ‘serging’ are all used interchangeably as the same thing – so don’t panic, if you read this article you should be able to keep up with most of these conversations and understand what’s going on!

 

Recommended Overlockers?

Toyota Home Sewing are very pleased to be well known for our Overlocker’s and we want to help make things as simple as possible for anyone interested in buying. Please visit our Overlocker page by clicking here and please remember to contact us via our Facebook or Twitter if you have any questions or require any more information from us.

 

The image shown at the top is our popular SLR4D machine, if you’d like to purchase one of these please use the above Facebook or Twitter links to request more info.

 

Check out these Quick Guides, full of images, aimed at making the process from threading to stitching as straightforward as possible.

 

Toyota Overlockers are based on a central philosophy of ease of use whilst providing advanced performance and features. They are here to give you the confidence to tackle more ambitious sewing projects.

 

Sew Successful – Buttonholes

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Today, buttonholes can be placed on everything from dresses, jeans, pillows to simply just pieces of art and decorative work. Most machines come with a 4-step buttonhole foot and are able to complete the simple function with ease but, and you’re not the only one, have you ever actually given it a go?

 

If the answer is no or you’re not sure, here’s a video from Toyota Home Sewing to help you get started. It’s one of those “once you pop you can’t stop”  cliches …. so dig around for the long white foot (aka your bottonhole foot), open up your wonderful button collection jar, grab some spare fabric AND, have fun!!

PS. Don’t worry if you don’t already have one or you don’t seem to be able to find yours, you can purchase a Buttonhole Foot (4 step) on our Toyota Home Sewing website here.  Let us know how you get on by posting to our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Sew Successful – Gift Bags

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Have you dreamed of dressing your presents up this Christmas and giving an extra special touch to your gifts… well here’s how with this simple and stylish reversible gift bag tutorial …

 

 You can make it to your ideal size and choose your ideal fabric to make it perfect for anyone. It’s an eco-friendly wrapping solution and we love that … it can be used again and again for all sorts of things from storage to door stoppers as well as more gift-giving

 

1. Choose 2 coordinating fabrics and cut out your desired shape from each fabric x 2. This will give you 4 rectangles of the same size.

2. Pair the fabric together, right sides facing.

3. Use your Sewing Machine to sew a 1cm seam down the lengths and along the bottom of each separate bag (leave the top open).

4. Choose which one will be the exterior bag and turn it right side out, press. (Leave the liner bag inside out).

5. Slip the liner bag over the bag that will be on the exterior when completed (right sides facing). Pin bags together at the top seam.

6. Stitch the liner and exterior bag together with a 1cm seam along the top only, (making sure you only sew 1 layer of exterior and one layer of liner together all the way around).

7. Use a seam ripper to take out 3cm of the stitching on the bottom seam of your liner bag.

8. Gently pull the exterior fabric through this hole, (right side out).

9. Close the hole in the liner using your Sewing Machine (stitching close to the edge).

10. Took liner into the exterior bag and press.

11. Place the thicker ribbon around the bag about 3cm from the top and pin. (Make sure that the raw edge of the ribbon is tucked directly underneath itself, approx. 1cm, and starts on the side seam of the bag).

12. Slip the bag over the Sewing Machine arm, and place under the presser foot.

13. Stitch along the top edge of the ribbon; stop stitching before reaching the other side seam.

14. Cut the ribbon off at the seam, allow for a 1cm overhang, turn this under, align with side seam and stitch in place. (Back stitch at each side seam for reinforcement).

15. Repeat this method to attach the second piece of ribbon to the other side of the bag.

16. Stitch along the bottom edge of the ribbon (it should remain open/accessible at both ends).

17. Attach a safety pin to the end of the narrow ribbon and draw it through, pull full circle.

18. Join together the ribbon ends, remove safety pin, and tie off to secure.

19. Start at the opposite end and repeat procedure with safety pin and ribbon.

20. Simply pull on the ribbon ends to tighten and your bag is finished!!

 

 

 

 

Carolyn’s Sew & Tell – With Love

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We noticed recently a YouTube channel offering lots of helpful ideas and methods to help you sew some wonderful creations for yourself … and, as you know, we’re all for that here at Toyota Home Sewing. So, we wrote to Carolyn and asked her to do a special “Sew & Tell” especially for you. In the short exchanges we made with Carolyn we saw how lovely, friendly and passionate she is about sewing and her customers and we wish her all the best with the opening of her new shop in Edinburgh … be sure to pop in if you’re in the area – we will be!!
 
“My love of sewing and fashion has allowed me to create and mould my dream career around my little flat in Edinburgh.
After graduating in fashion in 2007 and feeling a little bewildered on what route to take, I soon found myself catching my first design job – creating a dress for a Miss Universe contestant. After this job, I felt that this was where I belonged – making women feel glamorous! Within 18 months, I am proud to say, from that day I have now built a dress label which has featured on the The Bachelor TV show and with various celebrity fans including Katie Piper and Millie Mackintosh.
Despite this rapid success the last year I still run my business from my little 1 bed flat in Edinburgh. However this is soon going to change as I open my first shop in Edinburgh later this month.
Throughout college I felt a little behind and less capable in my pattern cutting than my other class mates. I soon found out this was due to me having dyslexia. Despite this, dyslexia was never something which hindered me too much as I worked my own way around pattern cutting creating my own techniques. One thing that did bother me however was the first time I tried to sit down and follow a pre-made pattern. Everything suddenly became jumbled and I soon got frustrated and gave up. Rather that this being a negative thing I decided to put my dyslexia to good use. Along with my dress label I am also a Youtube partner giving tips on fashion and beauty on a budget. I decided to use my simplified pattern cutting techniques to turn the written instructions in video form. I created a series of short videos showing how to make your own celebrity red carpet dresses and sold the simplified patterns to go with the video guide. The video instructions make it easier to follow and the patterns have various symbols on them to match up the pattern pieces. My intention was to turn pattern cutting and dress making into a more accessible thing using 21st century technologies. I hoped to tap into young woman who maybe viewed dress making as complicated or old fashioned.
The thing I love most is when I am sent photos of girls all over the world wearing their dresses to proms & special events. It always puts a smile on my face.”
Carolyn Baxter has her own website of the same name that sells her unique designs & patterns and she also has her own YouTube channel that we think is just amazing and we are sure you will too … Here’s Carolyn’s personal recommendation especially for you  … How To Make Your Own Madison Dress
Check It Out .. Be Inspired!!

Sew Successful – Victoria Pendleton

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SEW SPEEDY…

 

This Summer the whole nation (and world) has been gripped by the Olympics & Paralympics (and we are no different)!! The last few posts on our community blog have been Olympic inspired and it seemed only right to keep this post in the theme too…

 

Victoria Pendleton, one of our 2012 Team GB “Golden Girls”, has admitted that she looks forward to switching her “Queen of the Velodrome” status to Domestic Goddess. It’s no secret that Victoria enjoys the homely comforts that we all do, and is especially fond of her sewing machine (a women of our own hearts).

 

Within her first newspaper interview after she announced her retirement from the sport, Victoria aired her excitement of getting her hands on the ‘acres of fabric’ she has been storing up at home for such a time. Dressmaking is one of her great enthusiasms and she has been quoted to have said “I bought a vintage sewing machine, the ones with a treadle, from a charity shop and I am dying to start using it properly”. And if her leg speed on the bike is anything to go by, she will be one speedy sewer!!

 

This is quite a fitting contraption for Victoria Pendleton, don’t you think!?  The 1939 “Goofybike” :

 

 

Sew Successful – Inspire A Generation

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INSPIRED .. it’s not just sport, we want the legacy to live on for sewing!!

Following on from our Olympic theme in the last post, we want to acknowledge this year’s slogan “inspire a generation” made famous by the London 2012 games. And it seems to have lived up to the aim! Since the games came to a close less than 2 weeks ago we’ve seen streets & parks full of joggers, skaters, bikers and sports clubs becoming inundated with inquiries from people who have been gripped by Olympic fever … the conversations and legacy are far from over!!

 

So, just like the olympics are “inspiring a generation“, we too are looking to inspire a generation!! We hear of a time when grandmothers and mums clothed their families and decorated homes using their inherited sewing skills and it’s no hidden statistic that today these numbers (& interest) have dwindled!! Teaching your children to sew has a greater benefit than learning a life skill; it will teach them patience, problem solving and can be used as a useful learning tool … as well as a great fun time to spend together.

 

We can also learn from their training … it’s always practice that will make you better at what you do! With practice  comes excellence and expertise. It’s a great way to teach children practice and patience! Just like running or riding a bike…it’s hard at first but once you persist it comes much more simple and achievable.

 

Sew, let’s inspire a generation and pass on the sewing legacy!!

 

 

 

For our range of sewing machines visit our site here: Toyota Home Sewing